Providing hope and opportunity to those who suffer from homelessness, addiction and hunger is the goal of Pastor Jim Watson.
Since 2008, Watson has served as executive director and founder of Good Samaritan Mission Ministries in Gary. Working with wife, Tammy, he has catered to men and women trapped in addiction, gangs and prostitution.
“In 2007, my wife and I drove through Gary and sensed that God wanted us to start a mission,” he said.
“In our view, Gary is not that dangerous. However, we do recognize that it is a city with great problems. We hope to be a part of the solution that will eventually return Gary to a place of opportunity.”
With the assistance of 200 volunteers, Watson oversees a soup kitchen at 1241 Grant St., serving hot meals to the public once a week.
“When we first opened, we were overwhelmed. Before long, we were serving 200 to 500 hot meals a day. Those huge numbers overwhelmed our resources, forcing us to move to a smaller location,” he said.
“Since we are not funded by any federal, state or local government, we are looking for church and business sponsors to fund one day a month to enable us to return to fully meeting the need of those that are hungry in our city.”
For those struggling with addictions, the Watsons offer a faith-based rehabilitation program.
“Our Spiritual Formation Program is highly structured and Christian-based. We do not treat our residents as victims. We encourage them to take responsibility for their addiction and the destruction of their lives,” Watson said.
“It includes self-directed studies, group Bible studies and prayer. If they do not have their GED, we send them to classes. We also require residents of our program to maintain our facilities.”
The Watsons, who have worked with addicts for 24 years, currently provide housing for 15 residents, noting that half the residents come from communities outside Gary.
“It is not an easy program. The minimum commitment to enter is one year. We only work with the most difficult cases, men and women that have failed at their previous attempts to change their lives.”
The Watsons reside in Gary and are members of St. Timothy Community Church, also in Gary. For more information on Good Samaritan Mission Ministries, or to donate, visit gsmissions.org.
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